Most people know you as Pepe Smith’s daughter, but probably not much else. Who, what, and
where were you before this?
I started as a DJ at RX 93.1. I think that’s where everything began, but before that I was a telemarketer. My stepfather was one of the bosses in that company. When I graduated high school he suggested that I try and be part of the work force before you decide what to take up college, so I said okay—I didn’t have much of a choice, ha ha! No, seriously I’m actually glad I went through that because I don’t think I would be where I am today had I not gone through that whole corporate thing.
You sold things by phone?
I was selling one of those phones with a radio on it. I was that annoying person that keeps calling you and calling you and calling you until you hang up on them.
And you ended up in radio because someone heard you on the other line?
No. My mom set me up with this radio manager because she wanted me to be this rock star. Me, I was young and I was, like (in a bratty, whiny voice), “Okay, hmmm”... what was I?... I don’t even know what I was doing, I was just going with the flow, like, “Whatever, whatever wipes your ass, this could be fun, why not.” So I sent an audition tape to RX, joined Radio Idol [RX’s radio reality show search for a new DJ], and won second runner-up. I worked there for about two years. Then I heard there were auditions for the next Myx VJ—I had always wanted to be a VJ—and I won that one. So I guess I was in the area, and I got the message. Oh, and
before all this I was a model, too.
That shouldn’t be surprising.
I actually have a love-hate relationship with modeling. I started when I was 16, doing a lot
of small gigs here and there until finally a friend put up a modeling agency and she persuaded me to have her represent me, so I said yes for one gig. So we took a couple of photos and she sent them out and then the next thing I knew I was on the cover of Pulp Magazine, walking for Rajo Laurel and all these other designers. It just happened and exploded in my face.
We assume that you grew up with your stepfather?
Yes. I had no idea who Pepe was until I was 14. I actually thought that I was half-Swedish all that time.
How did it all come down, finally knowing that Pepe Smith was dad?
Oh my goodness! Let me ask you, what if your parents went and said, “Okay, I’m not your real dad.” How would you feel? That is just warped, right? It wasn’t a good time I don’t think I want to talk about that.
And mom is?
She was an actress-slash-model-slash singer back in the day. She’s an adventurer, just like me, getting into all kinds of different things.
Your story remind us of Liv Tyler’s, growing up thinking her dad was Todd Rundgren and then sees Steven Tyler and, “Wait a minute, I’m wearing his face!”, finally getting to the truth that Steven Tyler was dad after all.
Exactly! That’s why I could relate to that story. I was, like, “Oh my God, am I the Liv Tyler of the Philippines?!” Crazy.
FOR SANYA'S FULL INTERVIEW, GRAB THE NOVEMBER 2011 COPY OF FHM!
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